What should the GOP do to recover from its failures? The problem, as I see it, is that the authoritarian Christianist right finally took control of the party and turned it into something truly loathsome. (Leaving aside the Bush regime's corruption and incompetence which the nutzoid right enabled). Small government, more freedom and other used to be GOP principles were abandoned in favor of authoritarianism, nativism, jingoism and rabble rousing populism. Unless the country clubbers and small government types can wrest control of the party from their crazy allies on the far right, they should leave the party en masse and form a "small government conservative wing" of the Democratic Party. That would leave the Christianists with the shell of the GOP and some 20% of the vote, and the enlarged Democratic Party would enjoy a more or less permanent majority.
In my view, if you take out the unreachable authoritarian nutjobs from the equation, most of the rest of America pretty much agrees on just about everything that matters, at least to a close approximation. The country clunbbers and small government types have to recognize how toxic and dangerous their unholy alliance with the religious right was. And now the religious right is ranting about how the GOP lost because it wasn't crazy and authoritarian enough.